Title: The last Stand: Part Four - Reminders of the Past
Summery: Faced with a fate worse then death one Blood Elf is determined to face his end with dignity, but what twists does fate have in store for him?
* Important Notes: For additional notes see the first chapter.
Bleh writer's block! Has it really been over a year since I updated this?! My god...where does the time go?!
The events detailed in this fic are based around in game RP between my main Jaideng Dawnspark and other players during the WOTLK prelaunch and Death Knight introduction.
This chapter introduces Niakel Brimstalk who belongs to my favorite RP partner on WoW and who I use with full permission here.
The sun rode just above the horizon, turning the sky into ribbons of fire. The light skipped across the surface of the bay's clear blue green depths, leaving trails of glittering diamonds as it went.
The old blood elf smiled as he watched the sun sink lower. Nothing would ever match the beauty of the sun sets in Booty Bay...well...almost nothing. Fel green eyes shifted to the figure kneeling on the wooden planks beside him. Even when they were seated she was taller then he was but that had never bothered him. Pale pink silk covered in layers of shiny brown leather with only the most modest show of purple tinted pink skin around her collar bone, she was no flashy courtesan or strumpet. Her face was bare save only for her peoples markings. Dark green hair had been let free of it's usual braids, the lightly crimped locks fluttering in the sea breeze. The sun caught paler highlights normally left unseen and gave her an almost invisible glow.
She didn't need anything else. Not even the sun in all her glory could match this, only compliment it.
He was sure if she were capable of reading his mind she'd roll her eyes at the poetry and tell him yet again how plain she was and to stop telling such silly lies to gain favor he already had. That if he wanted to go to bed with her he had only to ask.
His smile grew, she was cute like that.
She blinked and glowing amber eyes shifted to look at him. She smiled and turned slightly, giving him an exasperated look.
"What?" she asked with heavy amusement in her voice.
"I'd tell you but I'm sure you already know." he explained as he continued to admire her.
She blinked and looked annoyed for a second then chuckled and shook her head, "You know...the view isn't changing, you can stop staring."
There was a faintly challenging tone to her voice, one he knew well enough. Some people might be put off by her words but he knew her better then that.
"Maybe I don't need it to change, maybe I like it exactly as it is."
A faint blush touched the tips of her long ears but she shook her head again, "Then you're a fool. You're bound to get bored."
"Oh? Would that make you sad then?"
She snorted and turned her back to him only to lay down, resting her head in his lap, "You're terrible...why do you always play this game like we've only just met?"
"Because you like it."
"Oh? Do I?" She scoffed raising an eyebrow.
"If you do not, you have an odd way of showing it."
"Well here we are then." She said, her tone growing serious as she sat up and gained her feet, moving to leave the deck and reenter their rented room.
He frowned and moved to follow her, "What is wrong?"
She frowned and her hands fidgeted in front of her stomach, "It's not real...why can't you just talk without all the flowery nonsense."
"You don't think I mean anything I say?"
She glared at him and hissed slightly through her teeth, "Nobody says those things and means it. It's like giving people flowers. You cut them off and they're pretty for awhile but in the end they're just dried up dead plants that you throw away. You could go up to any other woman and say the same thing with the same results. Say how their hair glows in the sunlight, how their skin looks radiant under the moon, or how their eyes remind you of gems by firelight...it doesn't mean anything!"
Jaideng frowned as he took in the night elf's nervous movements more then her actual words. He stepped forward and took hold of her hands, clasping them and pressing them with his own against her stomach. It was still flat but he knew that wouldn't remain so long.
"Niakel. I love you. You are the first person I have ever loved...and I will never stop loving you. If I say these things it's only because I want you to see you as I do."
Her ears drooped faintly and her eyes glistened, "I'm sorry...I know...I'm just..."
He smiled comfortingly, "It's alright. I understand. Don't worry...I'm not going anywhere, I'll be here for you." he smiles and winks at her, "Mood swings and all."
Her ears twitched and she rolled her eyes but couldn't help but laugh, "See if you still believe that when the punches to the face happen." she said as she pulled away and started back towards the deck.
"Been there done that." he chuckled and moved to follow her. His steps became somewhat unsteady however as weakness washed over him, a wave of pain had him stopping to lean against the door frame.
"Jai?" Niakel's voice was filled with worry.
He smiled up at her and waved away her concern, "It's nothing, just a little tired. I've been pushing myself too hard lately is all."
She looked like she was about to comment when the sudden sound of screaming erupted from the docks below. Looking over the railing they saw the rather unbelievable sight of ghouls leaping off of one of the docked ships. Jaideng turned to retrieve his weapon and found the world had gone cold. The screams were gone and when he looked at Niakel she was devoid of color and life. Her face was one of pure despair.
"You lied to me."
The Death Knight blinked his eyes. Booty Bay was gone replaced by the familiar plague ridden landscape. He took a deep breath and swallowed hard as he tried to shake away the residual images.
The undead didn't sleep...but they could still dream. In times when the body remained idle for too long, the mind drifted. The images were random mostly...
He'd never had one so vivid or lengthy.
He'd never had one of her.
The sky was streaked with dark oranges. The sun was beginning to set. Much as he tried not to he couldn't help but think of her...of the many times they'd sit and watch the sun set. Did she still do so without him? Was she doing it now?
Pain and longing filled his being and he shook his head. Stop! He couldn't be having these thoughts now. They were foolish. Weak. They'd only get in his way.
He couldn't go back to how things were...but he'd find her again. He'd show her. They'd be together. Just as he promised. It would be better in the end. No more hiding and separation. No race or faction to keep them apart.
He felt a faint pulse of energy from the large blade strapped against his back. It carried with it a heavy feeling of disapproval and reproach and Jai sighed.
"I understand how you feel Talgith...hopefully soon you will see things as I do and learn to agree." Jaideng muttered and growled under his breath in annoyance as the blade buzzed with angry denial.
"Enough." he snapped and the blade went silent. Bitter as the spirit within the blade was their bond would allow no disobedience. The blade would never be able to turn against it's wielder.
Dusk had fallen finally as he moved out of the line of withered trees towards the outskirts of Havenshire, the surrounding wilderness gaining more greenery the closer he got, becoming perfectly healthy by the time he came within sight of his target.
The Havenshire horse stables were rather large and normally well guarded but with night fall the guard became less dense and those that remained were hampered by the cover of darkness. He'd watched his peers make a mess of the place during recent days, slaughtering the peasants and snatching horses as random. Jaideng had other plans. He'd never been one to take animal companionship for granted, death hadn't changed that. Instead he had watched and made his pick carefully.
The one he sought was rarely out with the rest of the herd during the day. During the day she stayed inside the stables eating and looking miserable. She only came out to walk and graze after the sun set when the other horses were already asleep. She was an impressive beast. Dark gray with spatterings of white along her rump and flanks, her black main and tail left long and flowing. She was lean and had long legs.
He'd always been fond of horses when he'd had access to them. Strong and yet so terribly fragile all at once. So tame and yet equally wild. This beauty had been a racer at one time, a messenger horse perhaps, but the heavy scarring on the fronts of her knees told a tragic story. She was lame. That they had bothered to keep her meant she must have held a great deal of value.
Her nostrils flared and her ears sprang forward as he approached, obviously nervous. He held out a hand as he slowly walked towards her. She nickered and shifted uneasily then tossed her head and let out a sharp whinny as she caught his scent on the breeze. She turned to run away but only took a couple of steps before a heavy limp caused her to stop and she turned back around to face him. Her eyes were wide and fearful, hooves dug at the soil warningly.
A quick glance around didn't show any guards coming to investigate the noise so Jaideng remained where he was. He fell into a crouch so as to appear less threatening, keeping his hand out to beckon her forward. She lowered her head and snorted but made no move to get closer.
"It's alright...I want to help you...you don't need to be afraid of me." he said, watching her ears flick as he spoke.
"I know you can't run...I can help you. I can make you run again." he said. Old training kicked in and he could feel a faint link forming between himself and the animal. He hadn't thought it was possible but then again his wolf had been among the undead for years...if it worked one way it could work the other as well. This was nothing like his Hunter bond of course but he knew the beast could at least understand him.
"I'll give you back your legs...all I ask is that you carry me with you." he said and slowly stood up as the Horse took hesitant steps towards him. He held out a hand and after a long moment she stepped forward so that it rested on the bridge of her nose. He smiled as he let his hand trailed up until it rested between her eyes. Her nostrils flared and he could hear her taking in his scent, muscles trembling as she fought her instincts to flee him. He waited for it to cease and smiled when she took another step forward to press her head against him, resting his forehead against hers.
His hand trailed down to stroke the fur under her eye as he drew his rune-blade with the other. Dark energy swirled about it as a purple rune circle appeared under their feet. He felt her jump and take a half step back, but he hooked his hand in her lead harness and followed her movement.
"Easy." he said, staying against her as he angled the blade toward her chest, "Trust me." he whispered before slamming the blade home. The mare reared with a sharp cry, knocking him backwards as the dark energy swirled around her leaving a ball of rippling shadow in its wake. His blade was still planted in the center of the rift, only the hilt and half of the blade visible. Removing it would cause the rift to close and the mare would be lost forever.
He kept that in mind as he heard an alarmed cry from the nearby farm and drew an extra blade he'd brought for just this situation. It wasn't a rune-blade of course but it would have to do for now.
Two arrows sang out of the darkness, clanging against his saronite armor ineffectively. He sneered slightly as he turned to face his attackers. He registered the heavy clomping of hooves too late as the mounted stable keeper attempted to plow right into him. He managed to avoid the full brunt of it but was clipped by the horse as he passed and the force sent him spinning to the ground. He heard the archers cheering in the background and growled as they added insult to injury by peppering him with more arrows. He saw the Stable Keeper's mount coming back around towards him and turned over onto his back as he tried to regain his feet. The man raised his sword with the point held down as if he planned to throw it down at him like a spear rather then use it to slash at him. He raised one arm to shield himself.
There was an unearthly shriek and a pale gray form exploded from the shadowy rift, flying over top of Jai's prone figure and plowing into the stable keeper with enough force to topple the other horse. The formerly crippled mare continued her attack, following the downed man to stomp on him with both front hooves until the other horse, eyes wide with terror managed to regain its feet and flee with the man's corpse hanging awkwardly from one side of the saddle. The mare tossed her head and trotted over to Jaideng, runeblade still firmly imbeded in her chest. Her gray pelt seemed somewhat paler as did her mane and tail but it was the exposed bones in her legs and flank, and the hollow eye sockets that told the true story.
Reaching up he pulled the runeblade free, standing and awkwardly climbing onto her bare back. He tangled his hands in her mane as she threw her head and let out another ghastly shriek. More arrows streaked through the air around them but they ignored them as the mare made their escape into the nearby woods. She started at an uncertain trot then quickly built speed into a full run. Blue fire ignited along her exposed bones and in her eyes. Another shriek split the air and he could have sworn she had picked up speed even more, ears back and head down.
He smiled and laughed as he felt her elation mixed with his own as the wind whipped through his hair. Not even the trees slowed them much as she side stepped agiley around and through them, soaring over jumps effortlessly.
He could feel the bond between them solidify, felt her thankfulness for the gift no one else could give her. To run. To run forever.
Jaideng blinked and looked around. The voice was painfully familiar. He was plagued by it constantly now. Niakel's voice calling to him every time his mind began to wander. It would go away whenever he re-focused himself but it was getting harder and harder to simply ignore. The pain of loss was becoming more then he could stand. He kept telling himself that he'd find her again but that only seemed to make it worse.
He sighed and shook his head in annoyance. He put a hand to his face under his helmet. He felt the mare, Tamasa, shift under him. She let out a soft nicker as she turned her head to stare at him. He sighed and let his hand drop heavily, patting her neck.
"...I know..." he whispered to which the mare snorted, tossing her head and pulling at the bit. Jai shook his head and pulled the reigns tighter to ensure her understanding that she was not free to move from their position yet. The scourge of Acherus were closing in on New Avalon and it was of the utmost importance that no one on the outside new the full weight of their situation until it was too late. Catching the messengers that trickled out wasn't always the most exciting job...but they were the best at it.
The familiar clopping of hooves announced the presence of another rider. Alone again. How many did they plan on sending like this? Were they truly that stupid? Maybe he'd play with this one. Send it back the way it came so maybe the fools would finally understand that no help was going to be summoned. They were on their own.
With a twisted grin he loosed his hold on Tamasa's reigns, the undead mare needing no further encouragement to take up the chase. As they easily began closing the gap he noticed several things that was different about this situation. The biggest one being that the rider was not one of the Scarlet Crusade. Though she wore a thick cloak, it's hood pulled up, Jai could make out the tattered and dirty tabard as the cloak flicked about in the air behind her. White with a sunburst. The Argent Dawn. The second was that she obviously had no experience riding a horse, her control of the beast was awkward and her posture all wrong.
Whoever she was she must have escaped while her captors were busy dealing with the invading undead and she'd made the rather poor decision to follow the road out.
She looked over her shoulder at him and let out a cry, kicking her mounts flanks in a desperate bid for more speed but only serving in startling the horse, the sudden jolt causing the woman to yank back on the reigns, the horse twisting and stumbling as it's head was pulled up. In a confused panic the horse reared, throwing it's rider before bolting into the forest.
Jai chuckled as he slowed his mount, shaking his head. That was just pathetic he thought as he dismounted, drawing his blade and walking towards the woman who was scrambling back away from him, everything about her screamed of mindless terror.
"No...no...no...help me, help me..." she kept whimpering, the common words tainted with an accent that seemed familiar.
He reached her and dragged her to her feet by the collar of her tabard, ignoring her frantic kicks and punches, turning a deaf ear to her screams as he threw her backwards against a tree his blade following after.
"ELUNE SAVE ME!" she shrieked a split second before the blade sliced through her solar plexis, pinning her to the tree.
Jaideng stiffened, eyes going wide as he stared at the dying woman. Her hood had fallen loose when she impacted with the tree, long emerald hair spilling out around long pointed ears.
Suddenly the world shifted. The woods bursting into flames around a bay that was filled with smoke, torn by war and death. Niakel who looked at him with horror in her eyes, the amber glow fading as her life was sucked away. Everything she was snuffed out along with the lives of the children who would never be born.
"No!" he cried out, letting go of the blades hilt and jumping back, staring at the night elf's body as he gasped and reeled.
It wasn't her. It wasn't her. He kept repeating it over and over in his head as he took in the silver eyes and the purple skin that was two shades too dark.
He groaned and pressed the palms of his hands into his eyes unable to shake the imagery. What was he doing? What had he done?! He'd killed her in cold blood!
Hadn't he told himself he'd never become like this? Wouldn't become so eager to kill?
Yet he hadn't thought twice about it.
Would he do this to Niakel if he found her?
But how long before that also changed? He'd already been thinking about it.
How long before no became yes? How long before he forgot his feelings for her?
He was losing himself...
To be continued...